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by Ash
Rated: E · Documentary · Educational · #2312736
A boring essay on the fall of the breathtaking Constantinople.
The Fall of Constantinople

Constantinople was a majestic place in the 1400s until it fell. It was a bustling city, filled with a cultural diversity of people. It had a population of 500,000. When Constantinople fell, it was a turning point not just for their city and the empire but also for history. When the Ottoman Empire, also known as the Ottoman Turks, took over it was signaled as the denouement of the Byzantine Empire, the embodiment of the Roman Empire and the invasion from Islam and Turkey to Europe and Asia. According to The End of Byzantium written by Jonathan Harris, page 434, paragraph 1, “The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 has been long considered one of the epochal events of the medieval world”. It began when the Ottoman Empire first began their attack on April 6, 1453. They attempted to breach the walls of Constantinople, which had already previously survived 22 attacks. After 2 weeks and 2 days, on April 22, 1453, Mehmed brought in naval forces. According to the World History Encyclopedia, Section 3 paragraph 13, “...he ordered his naval forces to circumvent the Byzantine chain by using oxen to drag his warships across the land in Pera and pushing them back into the sea inside the Golden Horn.” They finally breached the walls of Constantinople after 1 month, 3 weeks, and 2 days, finally causing the fall of Constantinople. It was finally conquered on the 29th of May, 1453, after 53 days of the Ottoman Empire besieging the wall. The Ottoman Empire then annexed the leftover parts of the Byzantine territories. Constantinople then became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire, replacing Adrianople. Present day, it is now known as Istanbul, Turkey. For over 1,000 years, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Since the Byzantine Empire was in between Europe and Asia, Constantinople had the advantage of being at the center of it all. Being at the center had it become the main trade hub and a natural harbor for ships. It was a wealthy city that had cogent influence on politics and religions of its region. This only makes it a bigger target for opposing empires. Not only did it have fame and fortune, it was also heavily fortified. The Ottoman Empire decided that it would be an opportunity to have young Sultan Mehmed the Second to test his leadership and military skills and strategies against one of the most powerful empires throughout history. Sultan Mehmed II led an army of 100,000 men against Constantinople. On the other side of the wall, Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos led an opposing 7,000 defenders. By nightfall on May 29, 1453, Constantinople was now part of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish control.

The Ottoman Empire used cannons to breach Constantinople’s walls, which were named as the most formidable in all Europe. Constantinople were Christians. Constantine the First was the first Roman emperor to asseverate Christianity. He supported Christianity to gain approval and authority by many. While Constantinople was being breached and attacked, the Ottomans had demolished and marauded a multitude of monuments, churches and relics of the city. They had even transmuted the Hagia Sophia, the largest and most venerated church in Constantinople, into a mosque. A mosque is a Muslim place of worship, which the Ottoman Turks were. The fall of Constantinople had consequential consequences on both Europe and Asia. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire led to them expanding into the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Many Greeks had fled to the West with manuscripts and comprehension that was unknown. Not only this, many trading routes were interrupted, including between Europe and Asia. This resulted in the decline of the Eastern Roman Empire which persisted for over a millennium. By the year 1450, the Ottoman Turks, who were Muslims, had already taken over and controlled the land around Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire. So by the time the Ottoman Turks had arrived in Constantinople, the city was all alone and surrounded all around by the Ottoman Empire. As the capital of the Byzantine Empire, it was the world’s largest city at the time with a population of 500,000 citizens flooding the streets. Many would come with goods from their home land, eventually wound up living in the buzzling city. These immigrants and visitors gave Constantinople such a cultural diversity unlike others, which made it famous. Because it was in the center of the Byzantine Empire and was densely populated, they had a multitude of trading links. They relied on the Bosporus Strait, which separated Europe and Asia. The Bosporus Strait also connected the Mediterranean Sea and Black-Sea. This gave the city an advantage to have all sorts of trading routes between Europe and Asia. Because it was surrounded by the sea by all three sides, Constantinople decided to expand west. Eventually this attracted new people from all around. Its tactical location and flood of citizens had it become the most wealthy and prominent city of all time. This had merchants and traders from all parts of Europe and Asia constantly come flowing in with business and goods. This makes a huge target for many others to target. People who lived in the Byzantine Empire had proudly called themselves Romans.

Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos was born on February 8, 1404 and perished on May 29, 1453, dying at 49 years, the day when Constantinople fell. He died as the last Roman Byzantine Emperor. It is said that he tore off his Imperial Insignia and led the last charge against the Ottoman Empire with a final battle. An Imperial Insignia is a worn jewel that’s seen as a symbol of power. They wear it to show commandment and leadership. However after the battle, he was announced dead because his body was never recovered. He was the last Roman Byzantine Emperor. His death marked the Fall of Constantinople and the end of the Eastern Roman Empire. He ruled from January 6, 1449 to 29 May, 1453. He unfortunately perished defending his empire, killed in the final defense of Constantinople. He bravely led his armies but was unfortunately slaughtered in battle. According to Britannica (p. 2), “He is sometimes referred to as Constantine XII(12), based on the erroneous idea that Constantine Laskaris was crowned in 1204.” Technically speaking, he is Emperor Constantine XII Palaiologos. Many historians and people do not count Constantine Laskaris, who was named Emperor in 1204 by residents after the Fourth Crusade. However, he was never officially and legally crowned or recognized by other Byzantine states. Hence why most historians do not list his name in official Roman Emperors, and thus why Constantine Palaiologos is numbered as XI and not XII.

Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, led under the command of Sultan Mehmed the Second. He succeeded to conquer Constantinople at just 21 years old. He was born on 30 March, 1432 and died on 3 May, 1481, dying only at the age of 49. He ruled as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from August 1444 to September 1446 and then later in February 1451 to May 1481. He was the seventh Emperor of the Ottoman Turks. After he brought his empire to victory, it signaled the end of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of a new era for Ottoman dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean. Later in May, 1481, he died during his expedition he led with his army. When they were marching, he fell ill with Tuberculosis and died on the 3 of May, 1481.

The denouement of the Byzantine Empire, the embodiment of the Roman Empire, the invasion from Islam and Turkey to Europe and Asia and the fall of Constantinople had a vital part in history. If Constantinople hadn’t fallen, imagine how the world would be different. Would Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos be alive, would Constantinople still be here in the present day, would we even know who Sultan Mehmed II was? It’s a turning point in history because it marked the end of the Byzantine Empire and the most successful city of their time. After the Byzantine Empire had fallen, some Byzantine scholars had fled and migrated to Italy where they helped start the Renaissance. This also demonstrated to many people that cannons are very powerful and are capable of wiping out and toppling Medieval defenses. The fall of Constantinople had affected many but also started other points in history. It also marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Age of Discovery. All in all, Constantinople has made its mark on history and is a turning point. Thank you for taking the time in reading this essay!

Signing off,
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